US-based rapper Raja Kumari performed for the first time in Meghalaya during NH7 Weekender on Saturday Credit: Eastmojo image 

Jaintia Hills: The 5th edition of one of India’s most happening music festivals — NH7 Weekender — concluded on a high note at ‘Wenfield’ in Thadlaskein in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills on Saturday.

Speaking with EastMojo, OML managing partner Gunjan Arya said how the organisers were privileged to have Meghalaya for the fifth time as a host for the festival with its mesmerising landscape. “The fact that we have access to this beautiful hillside, this undulating land, the fact that we can construct the stage in a bold setting where the hills allow the audience to stand in a way so as to be able to see the stage. This is very unique,” she said.

The venue of NH7 Weekender sits in the middle of the hills in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills

The much-awaited event opened its doors to fans from across India, who attended in droves to see Australian rock band Karnivool (who were celebrating 10 years since the release of their landmark album Sound Awake) and Canadian progressive metal band Intervals (in India for the first time), on Friday.

Shubha Mudgal enthralled festival-goers with a powerful performance, with this being her first performance in Meghalaya, and Benny Dayal & Funktuation also performing hits from their EP to a thrilled crowd.

The last day of NH7 Weekender saw a packed crowd in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hils on Saturday

The event also saw some of India’s finest acts make their debut performances at the happiest music festival like Pakshee, Antariksh and The Koniac Net in Northeast India.

Local artistes from across the region also played to a very diverse audience of music fans — featuring everything from rock, blues and shoe-gaze acts like Blue Temptation (hailing from Shillong themselves) and Lo! Peninsula (from Imphal).

Fame the Band and the Andrea Tariang Band (both from Meghalaya) set the stage for the multi-genre and multi-stage music festival.

The second day featured some stellar acts, including legendary thrash guitarist Marty Friedman (playing in India for the first time), British prog-metal giants TesseracT (playing in Meghalaya for the first time) and a special set from local favourite and blues legends Soulmate.

Legendary thrash guitarist Marty Friedman playing in India for the first time at NH7 Weekender in Meghalaya’s Jaintia Hills on Saturday

The last day of the event also witnessed enthralling performances from across Northeast India.

With acts like rap group Khasi Bloodz, dub reggae band Small Axe Sound and hip-hop artist Meba Ofilia (from Shillong, Meghalaya), jazz-pop act Avora Records (from Aizawl, Mizoram) and funk-rock band Minute of Decay (from Imphal, Manipur), no genre was left behind this year at NH7 Weekender.

To represent the sounds of a truly global festival, artistes from different parts of the world played to an adoring crowd.

England based Indo-jazz artist Sarathy Korwar, Sri Lankan soul band The Soul and US-based rapper Raja Kumari enthralled the audience, with each of them playing in Meghalaya for the first time.

NH7 Weekender was held in Meghalaya for the fifth time

The music festival, which has been taking place every year since 2015, attracts crowds from the country and abroad. However, there has been a buzz around the corner that the fifth edition was the last for Meghalaya, to which OML’s Arya firmly denied.

Given that Meghalaya is a state that accepts music so well is another factor for the biggest music festival in India to be hosted in the state for the fifth time, Arya added.

Besides the enthralling performances by the artistes from across the country and abroad, the festival saw top-notch local delicacies and arts, with bustling flea markets offering visitors a variety of exotic food.

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